Is Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias being held captive by Doctor Manhattan in HBO's Watchmen TV series? Showrunner Damon Lindelof has brought back some of the original's most memorable characters, like Ozymandias, Silk Spectre, and Doctor Manhattan, but their fates following the 1985 squid fall - the graphic novel's climax - remain unknown. What happened to Veidt, played by Jeremy Irons, is the most intriguing mystery so far; the show revealed he is being kept prisoner by an unnamed game warden, but, who the warden is, where Veidt is being held, and why the retired crime-fighter is being held captive in the first place, are all questions left unanswered.
The mystery of the game warden's identity is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. Watchmen's creators are no doubt enjoying teasing the Ozymandias plotline out, as they had been deliberately vague regarding the name of Jeremy Irons' character. There have been references to Adrian Veidt and his former company since the premiere, but the show did not confirm that Irons' character was indeed the self-proclaimed "smartest man on the planet" until episode 3, "She Was Killed By Space Junk". There have, however, been numerous clues to the captor's identity: mainly, the strange nature of Veidt's imprisonment.
Watchmen episode 5, “Little Fear of Lighting”, revealed that Veidt’s prison is on a moon (likely Europa) orbiting Jupiter. It is an artificially created world, possibly using dimensional transportation technology similar to what the 7th Kavalry were experimenting with. In a follow-up interview, Lindelof confirmed that Veidt's scenes in season 1 are set years apart. Therefore, whoever is holding Veidt captive has access to near-infinite resources, advanced technology, and space travel.
There is only one known character in the Watchmen universe who fits the above description: Doctor Manhattan. Introduced in Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore's graphic novel, Doctor Manhattan was the naked blue Superman stand-in, who takes his girlfriend, Laurie, for a walk on Mars. This is referenced in the premiere, with him shown walking Mars' surface on a television in Judd Crawford's house. In episode 3, Laurie attempts to call her ex-beau using a phone booth that transmits to Mars. Doctor Manhattan exists in the HBO TV series, and for some reason he's based on the red planet.
But there are further hints that Doctor Manhattan is at least involved in, if not responsible for, Ozymandias' imprisonment: notably, Veidt's strange condescending play "The Watchmaker's Son", which dramatizes the pivotal moment when an accident turned Jon Osterman, the son of a watchmaker, into a super-powered god-like being. Out of all the stories, all the experiences, Veidt has lived through or is aware of, why choose that particular moment as the subject of a play, if not to mock, upset, or simply get the attention of, the subject - Doctor Manhattan?
Furthermore, the clones Veidt lives with - men named Mr. Phillips and women named Ms. Crookshanks - are not quite human. At the end of the graphic novel, one of the last things Doctor Manhattan says to Laurie before (presumably) leaving for good, is that he wanted to try and make new life. In the last episode, the game warden references his and the clones' "God" - perhaps the once-humble son of a watchman finally transcended into the role.
The next episode of Watchmen airs Sunday, November 24 on HBO.